“The Division of Environment and Conservation of MNRE completed planting of 2000 native coastal and lowland forest trees at the Vaitele-Fou national reserve (old quarry). The event which took place on the 18th September is an initiative of the UNDP Samoa office in partnership with the Samoa Conservation Society (SCS). Other conservation partners in support today included the of Faleaseela Environment Protection Society (FEPS).
While UNDP had planned to plant 500 native trees to offset the staff carbon footprint from international travel (now reduced because of COVID19), the team including MNRE staff planted an extra 1500 trees to contribute to offsetting our carbon emissions from local travel to and from work. In their lifetimes these 2000 trees are expected to absorb around 460 metric tons of CO2, equivalent to the carbon emissions from driving 228 cars for a whole year!
UNDP are a lead organisation in Samoa implementing climate change adaptation projects in partnership with MNRE, however, as staff members, they are rarely able to get our hands dirty and take part in the physical aspect of the work they support. It has never been more important to “walk the talk” in the fight against climate change, so when UNDP received funding to implement office greening initiatives to commit to reducing their carbon footprint by 25% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, they organised two tree planting activities that would help them become carbon-neutral for 2019-present. UNDP also wanted to bring more attention to the Vaitele Fou reserve and the importance of restoring this area of land, considering it will be vital in absorbing CO2 emissions from the fastest growing urban area in Samoa.
The tree planting not only aimed at reducing our carbon emissions to the atmosphere but also contributed to restoring and rehabilitating the degraded forests of the Vaitele-Fou Reserve. The tree planting was conducted by around 40 people and planted a total of 1.25acres of degraded land inside the reserve. Native trees were planted at a 2m x 2m spacing. The area is tough as it is mostly rocky and dry however we have selected a few species that are expected to withstand the soil and weather conditions and hopefully they survive in the next few months. Maintenance and monitoring to ensure these trees survive is important at this stage.
MNRE once again acknowledges the continuous support of UNDP and SCS in promoting carbon offsetting and restoration and walking the talk on climate change action. We look forward to work together on more partnership activities in the future with UNDP, SCS, FEPS and other interested partners to further improve and promote forest restoration and carbon offsetting by planting and maintaining trees and forests”.